Grow Your Own Garden With Milk Jugs
Did you know that gardening can help encourage kids to be more excited about eating their fruits and veggies? They may even try a new food if they have helped to grow it themselves! This means that gardening at home is a fun way to promote healthier habits for your family. When the weather starts getting nicer, you might feel the urge to go outside and start planting. However, it is best to wait until the full arrival of spring before planting seedlings in the ground, in order to ensure proper growth. Some vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers require a longer growing season. Even if your last freeze has still not come, there is plenty of prep that you can start indoors now. Here is a fun activity for you and your child to start gardening at home!
Gardening with Kids Milk Jug Activity:
- Prepare the jug (PARENTS) – cut the jug so that there is a large enough opening for the plant to grow, yet deep enough to hold enough soil. It can stand tall or lay on its side for more surface area. Poke holes in the bottom for drainage (8-10) using either scissors or a hammer and screwdriver (place on piece of wood to avoid damaging surface).
- Decorate the jug (KIDS) – paint or sticker the outside of the milk jug, have fun with it and be creative.
*Optional – paint plastic spoons as labels for the plants the color of the food you are going to grow and label them with a marker or write the names of the food on popsicle sticks.
- Plant the seeds (KIDS and PARENTS) – once the paint has dried, fill the jug with soil and plant the seeds according to the directions on the back of the seed packet for space and depth
- Water the Plant (KIDS) – water the plant daily, until moist but not too much. Too much water and slow drainage can kill the plant.
*Optional- place plastic spoon or popsicle stick label in the soil, if using.
- Provide light (KIDS and PARENTS) – place the planted milk jugs outside in the sun, when the weather permits. You can also bring the jug inside during cold days and evenings. Most vegetables will grow better in full sunlight than in shade. Lettuce, spinach, and cabbage can tolerate more shade than root crops such as radishes, beets, and carrots. An advantage to growing in containers is that you can place them in areas where they receive the best growing conditions. Once it gets warm enough, you can leave them outside.
- Harvesting (KIDS and PARENTS) – Harvest the plant and eat and enjoy all the hard work you have put into growing your own food. If the plant requires additional growth, it can be transplanted to your outside garden when the weather is just right. Dispose of the plant and soil when done.